On shitty advice

I’ve seen this video, or at least heard the audio clip, on TikTok several times, generally over a video of someone making something with their hands. I would talk about it there, except the way the site works there’s no good way to respond to a full minute of audio. I can talk over him and have the full minute, or I can clip out five seconds and then have 55 seconds of my own afterward, but neither really works, so … off to blogging!

Go ahead and watch the video; it’s only a minute long.

Look, I get enough of people not watching videos that are critical to understanding the next thing they’re going to do from my students. You haven’t watched the video yet. Watch the video.

Fine, figure it out.

This is terrible advice and this man is dumb.

Now, I don’t know when he said this, but the fact that he put it on his TikTok account implies that it was pretty recent. Which is odd, because the world that this might have worked in went away, like, decades ago. First of all, I love the implication that everybody can afford to take 90 days to work for free. So you’re either living at home and don’t have any bills or you already have enough money saved up that three months of rent, all expenses, potentially your student loans coming due (be real, he’s not envisioning someone who has student loans) and, oh, right, health insurance, which nobody gives to people who are working for them for free. Anybody who can afford to do that already has plenty of connections, and frankly if they’re planning on entering the business world their best contacts are almost certainly their parents. And entering the business world is the only possibility this person is really picturing; if the person who is “living your ideal life” is anything but the owner of a business this whole idea falls apart– you can’t approach, say, an author, or a comedian, or a school principal with a deal like this. The other possibility is some sort of apprenticeship model for a craftsperson, but guess what– we already have that sort of thing, and “connections” aren’t really all that useful if what you want to do with your life is build cabinets or chairs or something like that.

The other fun thing is his theory about how this process ends. After you have spent ninety days working harder than anyone this business owner has ever met, for free, you approach him and tell him (it is also certainly a him in this dude’s scenario) that you would now like to work for money. If you are told no, you shake hands and part ways (… and then what?) and if you are told yes, you have entered the odd question mark in this Underpants Gnome scheme for profit.

What if dude looks at you and says “I’m not sure, work for me for another 90 days for free and then I’ll decide?”

What if the wage he offers you is insulting? (Side point, but I will never as long as I live forget seeing a job listing offering $15 an hour and demanding a Master’s degree.)

Has this guy not realized that unpaid internships are already a thing, that they’re basically used as free slave labor by the businesses that sponsor them, that they have basically the exact same economic problems that I’ve already outlined above, and there’s an endless supply of them for anyone who wants to employ them? There is no fucking shortage of trust-fund shitheads who are willing to work for “free” (ie, everything paid for by their parents) and bring coffee to people for a semester in hopes that someone remembers their name when they hit the job market. There will never not be college juniors, dude.

I am sorely tempted to look more closely into this person giving this speech on a stage with a wireless microphone in his ear, to find out how his parents got their money.

On alternate universes

I have spent the last couple of days working on the graduation video– or, at least, the “celebration” video, since technically we’re not supposed to call it a graduation (or use Pomp and Circumstance) if it’s not high school. One way or another, though, I’ve been working on it. The final project is going to end up being somewhere in the 35-minute range.

I used to do quite a lot of this type of work at a previous school, when I was one of the folks responsible for the morning announcements. The announcements themselves were no big deal, but we’d shoot commercials and little skits and stuff like that all the time to keep the kids paying attention, and it turned out that I wasn’t terrible at video editing, or at least the type of video editing you can do with a cheap camera (or, now, a smartphone) and iMovie. In an entirely alternate world, I can see a version of me that does this sort of thing for a living. There’s something very satisfying about it, honestly. There’s no world where I’m contemplating a career change or anything like that– if for no better reason than I don’t actually have any idea how you break into that field, and “I’m good at iMovie” probably isn’t going to be enough to get me any interviews.


The bike has finally shipped, and is currently slated to arrive on Tuesday, although I suspect it might arrive a bit quicker. This means that I now get to start obsessing about bike helmets, which is going to be extra special fun because I have an enormous head– seriously, I can’t ever find hats that fit– and therefore bike helmets that 1) fit me 2) I can afford and 3) I am willing to wear are going to, simultaneously, not exist and be sold out everywhere.

My wife’s foot remains in a boot, and I’ll need her to go with me the first time I ride anywhere so she can call the police when I crash and die, so I’ve got time to … I dunno, build one, I guess.

(Oh, also: bike helmets are not built for bald dudes? I have done a little looking around and I feel like any helmet that has actual holes in it is going to be fodder for the weirdest sunburn of all time, and I am not looking forward to that.)


I am beginning to be concerned about this fall. If we are back in class, we, or at least the adults, are probably going to be mandated to wear masks. I have not, to date, been able to spend more than about fifteen minutes in a mask without panic attacks becoming a real problem, so eight hours— to say nothing of eight hours where I’m expected to do something other than curl up into a fetal position and concentrate on not thinking about my breathing– is gonna be … let’s say troublesome.

I have a couple of surgical masks on hand, and I’m going to try one of those the next time I have to go anywhere, because getting cat food at Target (which, apparently, doesn’t actually sell pet supplies any longer, or at least ours doesn’t, or at least they’ve hidden them well enough that I couldn’t find them anywhere?) damn near killed me tonight. It was bad, y’all.


It still, despite the video and despite the fact that I haven’t actually been in my classroom since the middle of March, not quite hit me that the school year is basically over. I finished my grading today; I will finish my actual grades this weekend at some point, and Monday is some staff meeting types of things, and … that’s it. I’ll have survived (more or less) my first year back in the classroom in a while. More thoughts on this later, I imagine, once it actually manages to wash over me and it feels like it means something.


8:05 PM, Friday, May 29: 1,745,606 confirmed cases and 102,798 dead Americans.

In which there is an unexpected development

I have recently come across an Employment Opportunity that is worth thinking about and investigating. Don’t get too excited; I haven’t even decided to apply, much less done so and been called for an interview or anything like that. Nor do I know how much it would pay. But for now, just trust me that it’s an Employment Opportunity and leave it at that.

At any rate, I’m bringing it up because my first thought upon discovering of its existence was I’m not sure I want to leave teaching right now. And, more broadly, I’m not certain I want to leave teaching again.

Which is … not the direction I thought my life was heading a few months ago. One of the numerous problems with being a teacher, of course, is the limited window one has to find a new job if one wishes to 1) stop teaching without 2) abandoning one’s current students. And I am finding that I am far enough into the year and I like my kids enough (most of ’em, at least) that the notion of ending the school year early even for a much more lucrative job gives me quite a bit of pause. The most amazing thing is that I’m not currently planning on a mad scramble for a new job this summer. For the first time in forever I feel like if I ended up in the same job next year that I have this year I’d be okay with that. And that surprises the hell out of me, especially since I mostly teach 8th graders who are all going to be gone next year anyway whether I like it or not. One way or another I’m highly unlikely to be in these kids’ lives for more than about seven more months; is it really that big of a deal if I were to leave in, say, January rather than June?

Apparently it is.

I’m going to look into this job anyway, because there’s no harm in looking into it; it’s not like I’m committing to anything by putting in an application, and they may not be interested in me or it may turn out that the job doesn’t pay enough or really any number of things. But it’s odd to realize that I’m back in the position where “Yes, please, now, please” wouldn’t be my immediate reaction to escaping the classroom again, especially since ending up where I have was at least a bit of a last resort anyway.

God help me, I may actually be enjoying my job again. Weird, innit?

On new habits

article-2421505-1AA2E1E3000005DC-504_964x740First of all, I have no idea where this image came from.  I can reconstruct the original Google search but I sort of fell down a rabbit hole after that and I can’t be held responsible for pictures of dogs climbing on elephants.  I just can’t.

I completed my final act of outstanding customer service this morning, which required an hour-long drive up to Michigan to return the now-repaired piece of furniture I had picked up last week.  Everything went fine; the piece was fixed to my and their satisfaction, the drive was pleasant, everyone was happy,  and the hell-rain that filled up the entire afternoon didn’t start until after I got home.

I spent most of the drive up there listening to podcasts.  I’ve got a handful that I’m pretty fond of now, meaning that pretty much any time I have time to listen to them there are going to be a handful of new episodes on my phone.  A few notables:

  • Pod Save the People
  • Lore
  • Aaron Mahnke’s Cabinet of Curiosities
  • Nightlight: The Black Horror Podcast
  • Feminist Frequency Radio
  • Females in Fantasy
  • Mass for Shut-Ins

And just today I noticed one called Subliminally Correct, which I haven’t actually listened to yet but it’s a couple of psychologists talking about subconscious messaging and propaganda in politics, which definitely sounds up my alley.

It hit me on the way home that starting in a couple of weeks I will have no time to listen to any of these, ever, unless I radically change how I interact with podcasts.  Because podcasts are for the car, and what with my drive to work having been cut down by about 90% I’m just not going to be spending any time in the car any longer.

It’s interesting, right?  You think of a new job as just a change of job, but in this case there are all these ancillary lifestyle changes that are coming with it– and, really, it’s not unfair to say that the lifestyle changes were a huge part of I wanted the new job in the first place.  My wife and I were sitting on the couch yesterday evening after she got home from work, each of us trying to get the other one to commit to some sort of plan for dinner, when she looked at me and said “This is what our lives are going to be forever, now.”  It hit me that in a real sort of way, after two years of me working every weekend and until 8 three nights a week, there’s going to be a real element of my wife and I having to relearn how to live together again.  And to be clear, I am not not not complaining about that, and I’m looking way forward to it, because it’s what I want.  But there’s no reason to pretend it’s not going to be a thing.  I haven’t cooked dinner in a while!  Maybe I’ll start cooking again!  I mean, we’ll have to, right, what with being home together for dinner for– gulp– seven nights a week.

Crazytown.

Well, that’s enough of that

As if today wasn’t enough of an unalloyed shitstorm already (those last two posts were both after midnight) I am pretty sure that I am now back on the job market.  No, I haven’t quit– and I won’t until I have a new job– but I’m back to looking.  I don’t even have the energy to go into why right now.  Maybe sometime this weekend.

Until then, and on a happier note, if you haven’t watched Stranger Things yet, it’s worth paying for Netflix all by itself.